Last year about this time, some of the guys came over and we made our first batches of hot sauce. The second one we made was called Agent Orange and that ended up being pretty good.

When my birthday rolled around last month, we decided to make another batch. This time we modified the recipe to use only mangos and drop the papaya. Logan dubbed it “Yellow Fever” and it’s delicious! The recipe is in that original post so feel free to use it, modify it, and make your own recipe. However, I do recommend that you make it outside. We use the side burner on the grill. The fumes are intense! Oh and you should wear gloves when you’re cutting all those habaneros or you’ll get a pretty good rash/burn on your fingers.

If your computer is acting weird, slow or you suspect a virus, Windows 8 has two great new features that will help you get back to normal again.

  1. “Refresh” will keep your documents and pictures, but you’ll have to reinstall most of the programs on your computer.
  2. “Reset” will completely remove everything from your computer and put it back the way it was when you got it.

Both of these are just a few clicks away and they will guide you through the process. More information is available here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc

If you’re an uber geek, you can create custom reset images so that when you reset your PC, it can reset with a bunch of your regular apps pre-installed.

The Seahawks finally won, but their first half still looked pretty bad. They picked it up towards the end of the game, but it was almost too late at that point. A win is a win. If they win the next 2-3 then I’ll start to feel a little better about their chances. The big concern for me right now is their turnover ratio. Last year they led the league with +22. This year they are a mediocre +4 and they are almost halfway through their schedule. That’s a huge change.

In our league, we had lot of very high scores. Logan and Austin both broke the record for most points in a week and we nearly had a new all-time blowout record. Jim is riding a 5 game winning streak but my eyes are on Austin. His low score over the last 4 weeks is 137. He’s the one to watch out for in my book… and lucky me, I play him this week.

Now on to the weekly awards. I’m going to start listing stats in bold when they represent new records.

  • Highest Team Score
    • This Week: Logan had 185.94
    • Season: Previous record was in Week 5, Jim had 160.52
    • All-Time: In 2013, Tim had 195.50
  • Lowest Team Score
    • This Week:  Dad had 79.22
    • Season: In Week 3, Luke had 55.04
    • All-Time: In 2011, Luke had 47.01
  • Biggest Blowout
    • This Week:  Austin beat Dad by 103.48 
    • Season: Previous record was in week 5, Tim beat Dad by 81.60
    • All-Time: In 2010, Luke beat Andy by 113.02
  • Closest Win
    • This Week:   Tim beat Andy by 9.41
    • Season: In Week 2, Austin beat Ben by 1.7
    • All-Time: In 2012, Jim beat Ben by 0.12
  • Highest Scoring Player
    • This Week:  Ben Roethlisberger had 56.78 for Dad (on his bench)
    • Season: In Week 6, Joe Flacco had 42.24 as a free agent
    • All-Time: In 2013, Peyton Manning scored 60.28 for Andy
  • Longest Winning Streaks:
    • Active:  Jim has a 5 game winning streak
    • Season: Jim and Tim had a 5 game winning streak
    • All-Time: In 2011, Micah had an 8 game winning streak
  • Longest Losing Streaks:
    • Active: Dad and Andy have 4 game losing streaks
    • Season: Dad and Andy have 4 game losing streaks
    • All-Time: In 2011, Kyle had a 14 game losing streak

I see them everywhere: red vending machines that shoot out movies and put a bullet in the head of Blockbuster stores. It’s a great way to distribute discs, but I had never tried it. We always used Netflix. But since Elijah was born, we’ve canceled our Netflix subscriptions (both the disc and the streaming) because we don’t have much time to watch movies anymore. My team at work is going to see the new Hunger Games movie when it comes out and I wanted to see the second movie.

My first thought was that I’d just stream it from somewhere. I checked CanIStream.It and was surprised to see that the cheapest option was around $12. Really? $12 to watch a movie in my own home? No thanks. That’s when I decided to give Red Box a try. They rent BluRays for only $1.50/day.

Their website makes it easy to search for a specific movie and find the closest machine that has it in stock. You can even pay for it online and reserve the disc. I did that, drove to Fred Meyer, walked up to machine B, swiped my card and out popped the disc. Brilliant!

If we go back to watching lots of movies, I think I prefer the Netflix model but this is great for those instances when you want a specific disc RIGHT NOW.

This summer I bought an Xbox One and so far the only game I’ve been playing on it is Forza 5. It’s that good. Well, I’m a Forza fanatic. I’ve played them all and this one honors the franchise. Plus, I now know someone on the team so it’s fun to chat with him once in a while.

That being said, there are a few things that I’d like to see changed in Forza 6:

  • The cars get tuned for you when you buy them for a race. There’s almost zero story line already in Forza and automating this part of the game makes it feel like you’re just getting put into the seat of various cars and running around a track. Sure, you CAN still tune, but it’s already done for you so you really have to go out of your way to want to change something. If you’re just running the career, there’s almost no reason to tune your car.
  • The career is LONG. Really long. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the various combinations of cars and tracks. You’re just checking them off one by one. There’s not much feeling of progression or choice.
  • The online stats are really limited. Forza collects so much data. Make it all available online! In addition to the slew of basic numbers, help me analyze my racing line and show me the areas of the track where I lose time to people slightly faster than me. There are lots of opportunities here.

It’s a great game, and if you love racing simulators, this is the pinnacle. (PS4 owners are free to disagree. I haven’t played Gran Turismo in many years.) But it offers very little beyond that pure racing simulator experience. If you’re not a little OCD about completing lists, you might find yourself giving up on the game before you’ve completed the whole career. But I suppose you could have a great time just playing the multiplayer section either racing with other people or competing in timed events. I enjoy that area but haven’t ventured there much yet.

Hobby time is precious when you have a young one in the house. Given that, I continue to evaluate my various hobbies to understand what I get out of them. Lately I’ve been thinking about what I learn from each hobby beyond the physical skills.

  • Trap Shooting: Performance under pressure.
    Once you get the hang of it, trap shooting is a hugely mental activity. Sure there are lots of physical aspects to keep in mind and to analyze when you get on a bad streak, but when you’re in the zone, the hardest part is focusing on one shot at a time. It’s easy at the start of the round, but once I start getting close to a perfect round, it’s incredible how my body reacts. My hands get clammy, my mind is racing with what kind of victory dance I’m going to do, and my arms literally start shaking. With experience, I’ve gotten better at controlling it, but the last time we were out and I hit 24 straight, my last shot was almost comically bad. This feels a lot like my (very) old days of high school baseball. Standing alone on the pitchers mound in high pressure situations is another mind game. I’ve thrown tens of thousands of pitches, but I had to overcome the mental pressure to throw one more.
  • Woodworking: Sometimes perfection is required.
    Over the past 5-10 years, I’ve become a big proponent of “done is better than perfect.” There are so many cases where you simply being done is a lot more beneficial than taking it from 95% correct to 100% correct. Woodworking isn’t usually one of those cases. Small errors along the way pile up into bigger and bigger problems until I just wish I could go back to the beginning and start over. A well-done project is a wonderful reward and a constant reminder that sometimes it pays to spend extra time and get closer to perfection.
  • Remote Control Flying: Failure is ok as long as you learn from it.
    You can’t fly RC planes without experiencing crashes. Lots of them. If you’re lucky, your crash results in a quick repair, but sometimes you end up with bits of plane scattered across the field. If you can’t pick up the pieces (literally and emotionally) and still want to keep going, this isn’t the hobby for you. It takes a different mindset to watch tens of hours of work explode in a couple seconds. But if you stop there, you probably WILL get fed up because you’ll keep repeating the mistakes. Each crash has something to teach me. Loose connection? Incorrectly configured transmitter? Lapse of focus? Misjudged the conditions? It’s fine to fail once, but repeating the same mistake over and over again is not only painful and costly, it means you’re not taking the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.
  • Skiing: Be humble and keep pushing.
    As people get into skiing (including me), they seem to progress from someone who knows they are a newbie, to someone who thinks they are awesome because they can ski circles around everyone they see, to someone who finally realizes that there is more to life than the groomed runs and there are a LOT of people who are infinitely better than you. Going to that last phase is humbling but it’s awesome. You realize that you can never master it all so you pick one area and try to improve until you decide to move on to another area. Once you’re in that phase, the challenge is continuing to push yourself. It’s so easy for me to stick with what I know and enjoy instead of doing something that makes me a little nervous or is just a little beyond my abilities. There’s a popular saying, “If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.”

I think you could take any one of these and easily see how the lessons from the hobby are easily extrapolated into general life. These lessons are an added benefit to the physical enjoyment of the hobby and hopefully help us improve ourselves beyond the skillset that we’ve learned.

For this latest helping tower project, I needed to cut off a bunch of pieces that were all exactly the same length to use as rungs for the tower. I tried to get something set up with the chop saw, but it just wasn’t the right tool. That’s when I learned about crosscut sleds. It fits into the rails on my table saw, holds the wood perfectly square to the blade, and allows for very repeatable cuts. Marc Spagnola of The Wood Whisperer fame has a good post/video on his site showing how to make a crosscut sled and what you can do with it. I followed his design and was very pleased. Mine still needs a little tweaking but it’s more than good enough to get the job done.

If you’re unconvinced that you need one in your shop, go to his post and play the video starting at the 15:38 mark. He walks through 5 different uses for it.

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